Category Archives: top 5

Saturday Top 5: Places I would like to visit

Marcela and I will be heading for a trip to the Caribbean in a little more than 24 hours. One of the destinations we’ve wanted to visit on our honeymoon but were unable to schedule was Dunn’s River Falls at Ocho Rios, Jamaica where cold fresh water falls through 600 feet of rocks into the salty warm Caribbean Sea. We’ll be able to cross that one off our list. But here are the top 5 overall places I’d like to visit.

#5. African Safari Tanzania or Botswana – I’d love to do a big game hunt, but I don’t think Marcela would approve.  So these are two of the best locations to view a lion, leopard, elephant, cape buffalo, and rhinoceros in the wild.

#4. Galapagos Islands – I spent the Summer of 1997 in Quito, Ecuador, but I was not able to visit the Galapagos Islands.  Along with the Amazon basin, it’s one of the places I would love to see.

#3. Rome – There is so much history and art in Rome.  Marcela visited Rome and Venice before we were married and said that it’s at the top of her list (along with France and Spain) to see again.

#2. Yellowstone National Park – Right here in the good old USA this National Park is beautiful, unspoiled, and huge.  Along with Yellowstone, I’d also like to see Yosemite and make a swing through the rockies.

#1. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – I would love to visit the outback and see the unique dessert terain, but more than anything I’d love to see the Great Barrier Reef.  Snorkeling and SCUBA are two of my favorite hobbies, and this is one of the world’s top destinations.  This huge coral barrier reef is so larg that it’s easily visible from space.

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Saturday Top 5: Nuts

These are the five best nuts, whether in a mix or all by itself.

#5. Pine Nuts – I am not sure if these actually qualify as a nut, but if they don’t then “OH WELL”. They are very expensive, but worth the money. They’re very high in oils, so toasting them brings out the flavor. This is also the magical ingredient in pesto. Try toasting pine nuts and mixing it with fresh spinach, Balsalmic vinegar, and sea salt in a pan until the spinach wilts. Yum!

#4. Cashew – In my opinion, these are best enjoyed roasted with salt and no other flavors or nuts. They’re a little high in carbs, but they’re rich and tasty. Unfortunately, I can’t stop at one.

#3. Almonds – I prefer these smoked when I am eating them as a snack. Sliced and toasted, they also make a great topping for most deserts. They’re perfect for mixed nuts and also as a crust for fish.

#2. Pistachio – My dad introduced me to these flavorful treats when I was a kid. He would go to the mall while Trav and I would run around and my mom would shop and he’d crack the shells one at a time. That’s the way they are best enjoyed, salted and roasted still in the shell, one at a time. One kernel has tons of flavor! It makes an excellent flavor of ice cream as well. The problem is that they’re a little pricey and higher in carbs than most nuts.

#1. Pecan – They’re high in protein and fat, low in carbohydrates, versatile, and extremely delicious. I love them roasted, salty, sweet, right out of the shell, in candy, or (my favorite) made into a pie! New Mexico is the pecan center of the universe, but they’re also grown all over the south.

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Saturday Top 5: Songs from Anthems for a Broken World

To be clear, I like every single song by The Saturn Project on their new album, Anthems for a Broken World. But this top 5 list will give you the songs that receive the most play in my mp3 player and in my truck’s stereo.

Honorable Mention:

Beautiful Stranger – This is a seriously smooth song. It’s a very chilled and groovy tune with soul.

And now, the list…

#5 Dynamite – It’s the first song on the album and like the rest of the album, it balances it’s jam, chord progression, and cuts.

#4 Sail Away – I love this groovy beat.  It’s a very reflective song, too.  What could have been?  What could be? It has a modulation toward the end that pumps it up.

#3 Silas – I think TSP wrote and arranged this song for me.  I love rock, and this song rocks!  It has some cool dynamics with it’s intro as well.

#2 Tonight – If you want to know the truth, none of the songs on this album have as much soul and feeling as Tonight.  It’s a very moving song.

#1 Time – I could listen to this one on repeat constantly, if it wasn’t for all the other great songs on this album.  The prelude builds and then releases all it’s energy when Time opens.  Great job on this arrangement.

Now, go and buy the album.  It’s going to help save lives, and you will love the music.  You cannot beat that combination!

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Saturday Top 5: Movies Watched in the Last Month

These are the top 5 movies that I have seen over the past month. Some are in the theater and some are out on DVD.

#5. Taken – Liam Neeson is a former special agent whose daughter is kidnapped overseas. This was not a bad movie, but not great either. It’s purely unrealistic action similar to the Bourne series.

#4. Tristan and Isolde – I didn’t even know this movie existed, but I enjoyed it a lot. It’s about the Brits after they became independent from the Roman Empire and their struggles with the oppressive Irish. In many ways it’s a knock off of a Braveheart type film, not quite on that level, but it was pretty good.

#3. Tropic Thunder – How could I put such a ridiculous movie in my top 5? Because of Special Jack. “Mama!”. This movie made me laugh so hard I was seeing stars.

#2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt star in a love story about a man who ages in reverse. I wasn’t exactly sure how to take this movie, because I am not clear as to what to the point of the movie was. The acting, costumes, and make up was great. It’s unbelievable to see how they can make someone look old or young with a little latex and make up.

#1. A River Runs Through It – This early Brad Pitt movie is about a Montana Presbyterian minister and his family and their love for fly fishing. It’s based on a true story with a few changes to the original story, such as the omission of the 5 McLean sisters. It’s not full of overly hyped drama, action, special effects, or emotional tricks to choke up the viewer. It’s just a story about a good man and his kids who grow up loving to fish, one of them a responsible young man and one who liked to drink and gamble. I can’t believe I waited all these years to watch this amazing film.

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Saturday Top 5: Cartoons

Like almost every kid, I loved Saturday morning cartoons. Times have changed now with cable and satellite. There are now literally hundreds of channels with cartoons playing 24 hours a day somewhere. There is even a network dedicated to cartoons. But they just aren’t the same anymore. We had very special cartoons 25 years ago, and earlier. You don’t have to get up early on Saturday to catch your favorite cartoon. And there are also cartoons that kids like to watch but are not meant for children. Cartoons like Family Guy, The Simpsons, and Ren and Stimpy are vulgar and have no business being watched by little ones with impressionable minds. I digress. It’s funny that when Trav or I show Kourtney and McKenna a cartoon that we watched when we were little, they love it. Yet those types of cartoons are considered useless today because they don’t have tolerance or environmental messages around them, or their comical violence is too much for kids. Well, here are my top 5 favorite cartoons from my childhood. Some of them came from even before my childhood, but were still running or rerunning when I was a youngin.

Honorable Mention:

The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, GI Joe, The Smurfs (I was just a little guy)

#5. Tom and Jerry – I was confused by this cartoon, because in some episodes they were friends and others they were always trying to kill each other.  Still a great cartoon!

#4. Super Friends – Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, and the weirdo Aquaman made up the main characters, but the Wonder Twins and Gleek and many others were also part of the crew who fought against the Legend of Doom.

#3. Transformers – The transformers were so cool! I loved watching new episodes on Saturday’s, and even years after, I loved watching the reruns after school.  After Optimus Prime died, it was still good, but it just wasn’t the same.

#2. Woody Woodpecker – This little smart mouthed bird was always giving someone a hard time, and his laugh is quite annoying.  Droopy, Chilly the Penguin, and that mean walrus made guest appearances.

#1. Looney Tunes – Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd, Tasmanian Devil, Pepe Le Pew, Wyle E. Coyote, the Road Runner, Speedy Gonzalez, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester, and other characters made this the greatest cartoon ever.  It isn’t even close!  I especially liked Bugs’ sarcastic/confident personality.  He never let anyone get the best of him.  A lot of the humor was over my head as a kid, which was one reason I am sure this was such a great cartoon.  It was funny for kids, but adults got a laugh too.  And there has never been a better show to promote classical music.  Playing in the background of most of the Looney Tune shows was a nice orchestral piece, many times it was actually a well known piece.  I would love to own a set of Looney Tunes cartoons on DVD.  I know it is something I can still watch and get a kick.

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Saturday Top 5: Christian Rock Bands

I grew up in church listening to Christian music. I’ve come to an understanding in life that music cannot become a Christian so a better description would be “music for Christians”. We had some great radio stations in central Florida in the Sarasota, Bradenton/Palmetto, and Tampa area where I lived from the age of birth until I was 11. Specifically, WCIE and Joy FM were great Christian music radio stations with excellent programming and hosts who were well ahead of their time for Christian radio. Even WMCU here in Miami had nothing as far as hosts, programming, and music selection. The music on WMCU was just way too boring and the hosts for many years were not on par with Joy or CIE.

Listening to the great musical selections on the radio, especially the Saturday Top 40 on 91.1 (WCIE) and 88.1 (Joy FM) led me to really love certain Christian rock groups. After our family moved to Homestead in 1986, I carried my interest in Christian rock without an outlet to listen. WMCU was pumping out some seriously boring tunes back then, especially for a young teenager. So I followed some of the big routines in concert and through cassette sales. Even to this day, I enjoy some of that great old Christian rock. These are my favorite 5 Christian Rock bands of my life. If you are wondering why some of the biggest and best Christian routines did not make my list it’s either because I didn’t prefer them, or they were solo routines.

Honorable Mention

Third Day – I love their gritty solid rock and roll sound. The best part is what I have heard about their purpose and lifestyle. They love Jesus.

The Top 5…

#5. White Heart – Their best sound to me was their early to mid 80’s albums which are best compared with Toto.

#4. Mylon (Le Fevre) and Broken Heart – Mylon had the absolute biggest stage and road show in Christian music. This group was greatly responsible for my interest in drums. I can still listen to them today and enjoy it.

#3. Stryper – Dude, people made fun of them because of their big hair, make up, and spandex, but their music did rock! They had one commercially successful crossover tune that was one of the cheesiest rock ballads ever. Honestly. But their first few albums were awesome!

#2. DC Talk – They started out as a corn ball rap group, but developed a sound that actually was way ahead of it’s time. Before Linkin Park was doing the industrial metal rap tunes, DC Talk was. Their concerts were just great. When they split, thousands of fans were heartbroken. But Toby Mac is still around doing his thing which is similar to the later DC Talk stuff.

#1. Petra – This band belongs at the top of anyone’s all time Christian rock list. Through 30 years and two lead singers, they are one incredible band. They’ve gone from folksy rock in their beginnings, to a more credible straight rock sound of the late 70’s to early 80’s, to a synth rock sound of the mid 80’s, into a hair band style of the late 80’s, and then into their hard rock and metal sound that they rocked through the 90’s. I wish I could get my hands on a complete collection of all their tunes over the years on CD or digital media. They are one of a very small handful of Christian rock legends!

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Saturday Top 5: Top 5

These are the top 5 Top 5’s of the past year by page view.

#5 Top 5 Funny Songs
#4 Top 5 Gun Cabinet
#3 Top 5 Rock and Roll Guitar Solos
#2 Top 5 Most Annoying Songs
#1 Top 5 Terriers

I will return with a fresh top 5 next week when my Saturday should be a lot less crazy.

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Saturday Top 5: Romantic Movies

These are my favorite 5 romantic movies. I know that many will not agree with this list, and I am open to hear other opinions on your 5 favorite romantic movies. Happy Valentine’s Day!

#5. Sleepless in Seattle – Tom Hanks may be the king of the romance film (Cary Grant, Clark Gable, or Humphrey Bogart may have an argument though). At least he is the king when it comes to chick flicks and romantic films in my lifetime. This is the ultimate chick flick which I will sheepishly raise my hand and admit to liking. I don’t think I need to describe it, but if you want a good Valentine’s day movie rental for you and the lady, this is your film.

#4. Cast Away – This romantic film doesn’t exactly end with the love interests walking away hand-in-hand with their lives together forever. But it’s still a great film about one man’s love for his lady which sustains him through years of torturous isolation on a deserted island. This is one of my all time favorite movies regardless of genre. Tom Hanks turns in perhaps his greatest performance either in spite of or due to an extended section of the movie with the only conversation being between Hanks and a volley ball named “Wilson”.

#3. Jerry McGuire – This is a great romantic movie on more than one level. What other sports movie (primarily about football) would be considered a romantic chick flick? Also, it has some of the greatest lines of any romance or sports movies made, and they are still being used and parodied over 12 years after the movie’s theatrical release. The three most memorable are: “You had me at hello.” “You complete me.” and “Show me the money!”

#2. Grease – This is musical set in 1959/1960 starring John Travolta as Danny Zuko and Olivia Newton John as Sandy Olsen. The movie focuses on these two characters and the competing social roles and peer pressures that accompany trying to fit into their groups, the T-birds and the Pink Ladies. It’s a bit of a chick flick, but it’s super cool with a soundtrack that is tops. The music was written by Frankie Valli and Barry Gibb and starred Frankie Avalon, Frankie Valli, Sh-na-na, Olivia Newton John, and John Travolta.

#1. Groundhog Day – This is the perfect romantic movie as far as I am concerned. This guy (ironically his name is Phil) gets to try over and over without end to “get it right” with the woman he is destined to be with. The best part is that every time he screws up and totally makes his love interest angry, he gets to wake up the next day and she has no memory of the event. It’s extremely funny, very sweet, and smart as far as comedies go. It’s not a total chick flick either considering it is Bill Murray’s arrogant and sarcastic humor at it’s peak.

So you may ask,”Where is Titanic, What Women Want, Forever Young, You’ve Got Mail, Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, or _________(fill in the blank)?” They are on your list. What are your favorite romantic films? Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Saturday Top 5: Big Cats

I am a fan of nature and animals.  These are the top 5 big cats from around the globe that are still around today.

#5 Cougar – This large predatory cat is the second largest New World Felidae behind the Jaguar, but it is the largest of the genus Puma (which only has two members, the Cougar and the Jaguarundi).  It’s found all over South America and it ranges over the western half of North America.  Here in South Florida, we have a subspecies of the North American Cougar called the floridana or Florida Panther which is critically endangered with only about 100 left in the wild.  I would love to see one in the wild, and there have been reports that a female has been seen roaming the Turkey Point area.  Genetically, this cat cannot survive without new blood which is why a group of females were shipped in from out west to put a little water in the gene pool.  This cat can grow up to about the same size as the leopard, but is typically smaller.  They have spots when born that fade or completely disappear as they mature.  They are both stalk and ambush predators, feeding on ungulates, birds, or rodents.

#4. Leopard – This is the smallest of the Panthera.  It’s a beautiful animal with spotted markings that keep its body outline broken up and blended in with its surroundings.  It can reach as large as 75 inches head and body weighing up to 200 lbs (males).  This cat is extremely fast reaching a top speed of 37 miles per hour.  It is the “jack of all trades” when it comes to hunting.  It’s considered opportunistic in that it hunts and eats whatever it can find, from small rodents and birds up to ungulates almost twice as big as itself.  It hunts by stalking or ambushing, depending on it’s habitat.  The leopard also lives in diverse habitats ranging from plains, to jungle, to rain forrest, to desert terrain.  It has to stuff it’s dinner up into a tree to protect it from scavengers and larger predators.  It’s not considered threatened at this time.

#3. Jaguar – The jaguar is the only member of the genus Panthera found in the New World.  It’s the third largest of the big cats.  Males can reach a body size of 6 feet and weigh as much as 350 lbs.  The size greatly varies depending on it’s habitat and diet, with the lower end of the range being as low as 80 lbs.  It is easily capable of hunting and eating the largest species of animals in South America.  It also has a unique kill technique.  It’s jaws and canine teeth are designed to crack into very hard objects.  Because of this, it can eat turtles and other reptiles that have protective scales.  It uses its teeth to crush the skull of its dinner killing it instantly.  It does not typically suffocate its prey as most other predatory cats do.  It is an ambush predator, and is considered near threatened.

#2. Lion – Lions are pretty much unique in that the male grows a mane and the females live in a group called a pride.  The pride does all the work, from hunting to child bearing/rearing.  What does the male provide?  Protection from other males, and fertilization for reproduction.  The male lion is a huge animal which can grow about 8 feet head and body, and weigh up to 550 lbs.  They hunt by stalking their prey to position themselves for the best attack.  They chase down their dinner and either break the neck with their huge jaws, or suffocate their prey from the neck or nose.  If the poor critter is small enough, they will just eat it alive.  The male eats first.  This species is considered vulnerable, but is not endangered.

#1. Tiger – The tiger is not only the largest of the natural big cats, but to me is also the most beautiful.  It’s pretty much a solitary animal and it hunts by ambush, waiting for an unsuspecting critter to pass by it’s location and it pounces on the creature and quickly kills it.  It’s powerful jaws rip the meat right off the bone, and some bones are just crush completely.  The lateral stripes help them to blend into their surroundings whether it’s grassland, forrest, or jungle underbrush.  Unfortunately, these huge predators are endangered and disappearing from the wild, and several subspecies are critically endangered with no real possibility of being saved.  A few have recently become extinct.  The largest subspecies of tiger is the Siberian Tiger which can grow 90 inches long and up to 700 lbs.

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Saturday Top 5: Super Bowl Era Teams

Honorable Mention:

1988 San Francisco 49ers

1976 Oakland Raiders

And now the Top 5…

#5 1992 Dallas Cowboys – Jimmy Johnson assembled one of the greatest teams, talent wise, in NFL history. Aikman, E. Smith, “Moose” Johnson, Haley, Lett, Jay Novacek, Irvin and Harper formed a team that mowed just about everyone over. They totally destroyed the Bills in the Super Bowl in historic fashion, even with Leon Lett’s blunder running toward the endzone.

#4 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steel Curtain’s second Super Bowl Championship came in 75, with such greats as Franco Harris, Terry Bradshaw, and Lynn Swann. They lost two games all year, one of which was an inconsequential game at the end of the season and all but two games were won by two or more touchdowns. This was truly a great team. This team also did what rarely happens in pro sports, that is to repeat as champions. Another piece of interesting trivia was that the 75 Steelers started the great tradition of “The Terrible Towel”. It’s just a yellow dish towel, but it is twirled in menacing fashion.

#3 1984 San Fracisco 49ers – This incredibly talented team became the first in NFL history to send the entire defensive backfield to the pro bowl. They also were led by Joe Montana, who is considered by many as the greatest QB in NFL history. Oh yea, they destroyed Dan Marino’s Dolphins in the Super Bowl.

#2. 1985 Chicago Bears – Notorious not only for what many consider the most dominating defense in league history, but also for the “Super Bowl Shuffle”. It was the cheesiest rap, but it started a revolution in sports and entertainment where athletes did so much more than just play ball. Also, William “The Fridge” Perry provided plenty of good times for fans of trick plays when he would become the NFL’s largest running back on the goal line. This team lost one game all year, a late season loss to the Miami Dolphins (protecting the only undefeated season in NFL history). Gault, Singletary, Payton, Hampton, Perry, Dent, Wilson and Gentry were just of the few greats that really made this team the beast that it was.

#1. 1972 Miami Dolphins – The only perfect team in NFL history was the 1972 Dolphins.  While there were only 14 regular season games, the 72 Fins remain the only team to win all regular season and post season games. Shula, the greatest NFL coach, grabbed his first Super Bowl win with Griese, Csonka, Kick, Fernandez, Yepremian, Warfield, Morris, Buonticonti, Morrall and Fernandez who were some of the most notable names on this the greatest NFL team of all time.

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